Republicans make runoffs in 2 special Assembly elections
By SOPHIA BOLLAG
Apr. 13, 2018
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A Democrat and a Republican have advanced to a June runoff in each of two special elections to replace Los Angeles-area lawmakers who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.
Final vote tallies released Thursday show Democrat Jesse Gabriel facing Republican Justin Clark in the 45th Assembly District in the southwest San Fernando Valley.
Democrat Luz Rivas and Republican Ricardo Benitez will compete in the 39th Assembly District in the northeast San Fernando Valley. Democrat Antonio Sanchez was in third place by just 60 votes but conceded the race Wednesday.
The upcoming contests will determine who will replace Assemblymen Matt Dababneh and Raul Bocanegra, who both resigned last year amid accusations of sexual misconduct. Both men have denied wrongdoing.
Democrat Sydney Kamlager had previously emerged as the clear winner in the 54th District, which includes the University of California, Los Angeles campus and Culver City. She secured more than half of votes in her race and therefore avoided a runoff contest.
Kamlager will be sworn in Monday.
The certified election results show turnout in the three elections was 10.8 percent.
Rivas is a science educator and Benitez is a business owner. Gabriel is an attorney and Clark is a college student.
The GOP candidates face uphill battles in both districts where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2-to-1.